Just left Greentree Practice Field and arrived here at the BankUnited Center for tonight's men's basketball exhibition against Barry University. I can't wait to see what Lance Hurdle and Edwin Rios look like at the point and how Anthony King looks back at center. Hurdle will start tonight alongside Jack McClinton, Brian Asbury, Jimmy Graham and Anthony King. I'll have live updates during the live Q&A over at Canespace tonight.
As for football practice...
-- Quarterback Kyle Wright is obviously the big story this week considering how Kirby Freeman looked last week. Kyle said today he "should be ready" to start against Virginia on Saturday night. But Kyle also told me he still experiences plenty of pain on his injured left ankle and knee. The pain is something he expects to play with the rest of the year. I asked him point blank if it was going to affect his mobility. His response: "There were a few times I had to move and slide a little bit and that's really what's going to happen this weekend. They play 3-down lineman and rush real hard and really try to spy you. I'm going to have to slide around and find some throwing lanes. It's just something I'm going to have to deal with and push through."
-- If quarterback is the No. 1 concern on this team this week, kicker isn't far behind. Coach Randy Shannon said he has "opened the kicking battle way open this week." That means punter Matt Bosher, who was brought in to kick field goals, will have a chance to win the kicking job for the first time in his career and Francesco Zampogna will have a chance to win the job back from Daren Daly, who took it from him the Florida State game. I asked both Bosher and Zampogna about having to compete for the job week in and week out and whether or not it takes a toll on the them mentally. I got two totally different answers. Who sounds like they can handle it?
Zampogna: "Some people would think you would lose confidence and stuff. Yeah, it does kind of break you down mentally sometimes when your job on the line. But just like anything, its the job in the workforce."
Bosher: "It makes you feel like you have to work hard and earn your spot -- and that's a good thing because it keeps you on your toes."
-- Spoke with special teams coach Joe Pannunzio for a bit, first about the kicking battle, but the more thing I learned was how Shannon and Pannunzio are disappointed with the return game. As you know, there's been a handful of guys who have gotten a crack at the punt return and kick return job -- from tight end Richard Gordon to freshman running backs Shawnbrey McNeal and Graig Cooper. Pannunzio said he's surprised Cooper hasn't broken one yet and said UM is making it a high priority to find a game-breaking kick returner next season. I've learned through other sources that person has already been distinguished as Booker T. Washington receiver Thearon Collier, a current recruit, and potential recruit Travis Benjamin of Belle Glade Glades Central.
-- I put defensive end Calais Campbell on the spot about the NFL. His response: "I have not made a choice yet. I have to do a lot of heavy considerations. Its going to be hard for me to leave here. There are a lot of considerations I do for next year. With the type of guys we have coming back and coming in, there's a chance to win a championship. Its definitely a big possibility [I return]."
I've checked out several NFL mock drafts online and Campbell and safety Kenny Phillips, another junior, have both been projected for the most part to be taken among the first 10 picks. It's going to be interesting to see how this develops, but I think the fact Campbell has struggled a bit this season -- he's got 71 tackles, 5 sacks and a team-high 18 QB pressures -- has little to do with how the NFL feels about him. One NFL insider told me Campbell's body and ability will make him a Top 10 pick no matter what he does this season.
-- Defensive end Eric Moncur (concussion) and running back Shawnbrey McNeal (sinus infection) were both practicing this afternoon. Moncur told me he was still "a little cloudy" last week and had to sit out. McNeal said he's fine and will be back in the rotation competing for his job. Not that Derron Thomas is ready to give up any of his carries. I spoke to Derron for a few minutes about what that 54-yard run did for his confidence. He's among about 14 interviews from today that I'll be uploading to Herald.com after the basketball game.
-- I also spoke to freshman receiver Jermaine McKenzie, who has been back on the practice squad for the past two weeks. McKenzie is a guy the coaching staff was very high on before his car accident this summer. We talked about how he feels, how he's been doing during drills and how he and roommate Robert Marve have been building chemistry. Definitely an audio interview for you to check out.
-- Oh, almost forgot. Also check out the interview with Kayne Farquharson, who has forged a friendship with Miami rapper Luther Campbell. Kayne was on Luke's new show a couple weeks ago. Campbell refers to Kayne as the new 47 -- that would be code for Michael Irvin. Many of you might not know it but Farquharson injured his groin after his big game against Duke and his been limited. I say many of you might not know because I didn't find out until today.
-- See you at the Live Q&A at 8 p.m. at Canespace. Leave me a few questions here before 7:30 if you like.